• Written by Howard Manly, Race + Equity Editor, The Conversation US
First bipartisan gun control bill in a generation signed into law: 3 essential reads on what it means

President Joe Biden signed into law on June 25, 2022, a bipartisan bill that is the first significant change in federal gun legislation in nearly three decades.

Known as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act[1], the bill was written in response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York[2], and Uvalde, Texas[3], and sped through a usually slow-moving Congress.

Though the bill’s limited scope has left many disappointed, it does tighten up gun control in a number of key areas.

As the bill was making its way through Congress, The Conversation published a number of articles looking at its provisions and how effective they might be in addressing America’s gun violence crisis.

1. Support for states’ red flag laws

Among the elements of the new law is support for states to pass what are called “red flag laws.”

LaGrange College political science professor John A. Tures[4] writes that these laws[5] allow police to take guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others and bar them buying firearms.

To determine if red flag laws reduce gun deaths overall, Tures examined states’ firearm death rates[6], in light of whether they had a red flag law or not, in each of three years – 2018, 2019 and 2020.

On average, states with red flag laws in 2019 and 2020 had significantly lower firearm death rates than states without them. In 2018, the average death rates for both groups were closer, but states with red flag laws still had a meaningfully lower rate.

“In 2020, if there were no red flag laws, I estimate that 52,530 Americans would have died in gun deaths. The number actually recorded was 45,222, indicating red flag laws saved 7,308 American lives that year,” Tures writes.

Read more: Red flag laws saved 7,300 Americans from gun deaths in 2020 alone – and could have saved 11,400 more[7]

2. What is the ‘boyfriend loophole’?

One of the sticking points in negotiations over the bill that was eventually resolved was the “boyfriend loophole.”

Under current federal legislation, Michigan State University criminal justice professor April M. Zeoli [8] explains[9] intimate partner relationships are defined only as those in which two people are or were married, live or lived together as a couple, or have a child together.

People who were in a dating relationship are largely excluded from this definition.

As a result, Zeoli writes, “dating partners are exempt from federal laws that prohibit those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanor crimes, or those who are under domestic violence restraining orders, from buying or possessing a firearm.”

This is what is referred to as the “boyfriend loophole.”

Research suggests that when a violent male partner has access to a gun, the risk of murder to the female partner increases fivefold.

With Biden signing the bill into law, the wording extends the ban to “those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

Though the bill will close the loophole for those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanor crimes, it does not cover restraining order laws.

Read more: Will closing the 'boyfriend loophole' in gun legislation save lives? Here's what the research says[10]

3. Does the law protect schools?

The new law would provide US$1 billion to help schools put in place comprehensive strategies to create safe and healthy learning environments, including $300 million to increase access to mental health services.

Part of the strategy involves risk assessment.

In the years since the Columbine shooting in 1999, researchers and federal law enforcement agencies have studied school shootings and developed risk assessments to gauge the likelihood of actual violence by a young person identified as a possible risk.

As Paul Boxer[11], a Rutgers University - Newark psychology professor, explains, the assessments are conducted by professionals that include police officers, teachers and mental health counselors[12].

Together, they determine a young person’s risk for violence.

“These teams may not be able to prevent every possible incident,” Boxer cautions. “Still, this sort of approach is critical to improving the process of identifying and stopping potential shooters overall.”

Read more: 5 ways to reduce school shootings[13]

Editor’s note: This story is a roundup of articles from The Conversation’s archives.

Authors: Howard Manly, Race + Equity Editor, The Conversation US

Read more https://theconversation.com/first-bipartisan-gun-control-bill-in-a-generation-signed-into-law-3-essential-reads-on-what-it-means-185822

Metropolitan republishes selected articles from The Conversation USA with permission

Visit The Conversation to see more

Metropolitan Business News

Maximizing Business Potential: The Philippines As A Leading Destination For Contact Centre Outsourcing

The outsourcing of contact centre requirements has become an integral part of business strategies aimed at improving efficiency, enhancing customer service, and driving growth. In the realm of out...

How can you mine and trade Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that acts as a form of payment and is not controlled by one person like fiat money. Hence it is not controlled by a third party in financial transactions. It is paid ...

Advanced Placement Strategies for Caution Wet Floor Signs in High-Traffic Areas

A caution wet floor sign is no ordinary warning device. It serves the vital purpose of notifying individuals about treacherous and slippery conditions in an area. Its presence acts as a proactive meas...

5 Futuristic Businesses of 2023: Exploring Latest Business Trends

In today’s world, success is not measured solely by profit margins but also by the positive impact made on the world. Now, we get to experience a world where the future meets the present and creat...

Data discovery: why your business needs it for compliance

Every company has to protect their information against unwanted breaches. But organisational information expands at a daily rate, and so it becomes even more important to track the data. Organisat...

9 good reasons to start your investment journey

Are you doing the right thing by starting your investment journey? Whether you're an experienced investor or a beginner, there are many benefits to investing. Here are 9 great reasons why you shou...